Monday, March 27, 2006

Conversation with Dung's Mother

I was posting on my adoption agency's web forums, about a question I had regarding referrals.

One of the people who answered my question was the woman whose family had been matched to Dung (the waiting child my husband and I applied for, and were not matched to.)

Troubled by the fact that she was responding to me, and talking about her referral, without having a clue how incredibly painful that was for me, I sent her a private message.

This is what it said,

Thank you for your response to my question on the boards. I have been thinking about sending you a private message for quite some time now, but, I haven't been emotionally up to the task. We were the other family who applied for C~ H~ Dung, and I cried for weeks after we learned we were not matched. I think it is odd for a family to discover exactly who they "lost out to" - but, I cried again when I saw your messages about being matched to him. But, I finally feel like I have grieved enough, and I want to say, that I hope that your new child brings you a lifetime of happiness, and that he will bring joy and love to your family, and your family to him. He is a special child, I don't know why I know this, but, I know it. Your son's small face spoke volumes to me. We were starting in the China program when we saw his face on the boards, and, even though we were not matched, I feel strongly that we saw him for a reason, and that he led us to the Vietnam program to find the child who IS destined to be ours, and for that, I feel strangely grateful to him - but for him we would be waiting for a girl from China, and now were waiting for a boy or girl from Vietnam - and this feels so much more "right". I think that God led us in this direction - he works in mysterious ways. I hope that you are able to quickly go and bring your son home. Peace and best wishes, Gretchen

And she responded thusly:

Thank you for contacting us. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been for you to see our message that we were matched with H~ Dung. After I typed that, I found myself hoping the "other family" wanting to be matched with him did not read these boards. I am guessing it is hard to see our name come up on different postings. I know what you mean about him being a special boy - even though we have not met him yet. There is something inside of him that touches our soul. In a way, it is so nice to know he also touched another family deeply. Your comment about God leading you to the Vietnam program is a strong one. We fully believe that God has a plan for each of our families and maybe H~ Dung was the catalyst to move you toward your child. Everything I say sounds so condescending. Please know that is not my intention. Mainly, I just want to say Thank You for messaging us. I know that took courage. And I want to send you our heartfelt prayers that your child is matched to you soon. When we found out we were matched with H~ Dung, we prayed for the "other family" and the sadness they must have felt. We would like to add you to our prayers once again. L~ [husband] and I had talked that if we were not matched to H~ Dung, we would want to know about the other family so we knew he was going to a good home. If you ever have questions to help put your mind at ease, feel free to ask. But we also will understand if you just want to move on. I will watch for your message that you were matched. May it be soon. God Bless your family. S~

And so, then I sent this message. I am still waiting to see if she will answer. I feel suddenly sad about this all over again...

Dear S~, I've been trying all weekend to decide how to answer this. Please understand that I really felt like I loved that child. And losing his referral was among the most painful experiences of my life. I also had a long discussion with A~[social worker at agency], after I saw your message, because it had basically been implied to us, that the other family was further ahead in the process than we were, so, when I saw your message, and knew that was not true, I was very very upset, and I almost left H~ to go with another agency. Anyway, after long discussions with A~ and L~[other social worker at agency], who encouraged me to grieve this loss, I decided to stay with H~[agency], because I really do think that they have the best interest of the children at heart, and that is extremely important to me. (I am a family law attorney in Ohio, and so often, I feel like I get involved in divorce cases, where no one is really concerned about what is in the best interest of the child, and that bothers me greatly. So, it is not flippantly that I throw around the words "best interest of the child" - because I find myself fighting for "the best interest of the child" on a regular basis.) When I was talking to A~, after I saw your message, I asked for an explanation, and I asked if the decision was made because we were not a "qualified family." A~ indicated that she could not tell me why we had not been chosen, but, in fact the reasoning had "nothing to do with the qualifications of your family." She indicated that we were a qualified family, that she would not have presented us to committee if we weren't, and that she knew the right child for our family was out there and that he or she would come home to us, and that the right family for H~ Dung was another family. She said, "some families have different life experiences, and sometimes those life experiences make them right for particular children, and that was this case, but, I'm afraid I can't tell you anything beyond that." Then A~ went on to say, "I really believe, and I don't think this is too strong a word, that you loved that child. And that is not the first time I have had to tell a family, who I really felt loved the asked for child, that they were not the right match for the child. But, in every single one of those other cases, in hindsight, those families have told me that they understood the reason for the loss, because ultimately the right child came home to them, who would not have come home to them, if they had been matched to the previous child." And so this is what I have come to accept, even to embrace. That your family is meant to be H~ Dung's family, and that our child is still out there, waiting for us to find him/her, and I am extremely anxious to find that child and bring him or her home. That said, in truth, I DO want to know that H~ Dung will be loved and cherished. I do want to know, I don't know, something about the parents of the child who, for a short 2.5 weeks, I believed was meant to be my child. And I hope that you will post or PM me, when you bring him home, so that I know that he is home and with his forever family and no longer in the limbo that this shutdown left him in (I have no doubt he would have been adopted as a tiny baby, if Vietnam had not shut down adoptions.) I will share with you these three things - things that I asked about that were not in the referral file. 1. H~ Dung was named "H~ Dung" by his birth mother, he was not named by the orphanage officials. (I asked for specific information on who had named him.) 2. The name H~ Dung means "strong brave warrior" (you may have already discovered this, I don't know.) (My husband and I had a long discussion about his name, and ultimately decided that we would give him an English name, because we thought that H~ Dung would be a difficult name for a child in our suburban school to live with. I am curious to know if you will rename him, but, of course I understand if you don't feel comfortable sharing that.) 3. The date listed for his first vaccination is incorrect on one of the pages in the file - the date listed actually predates his birthdate. However, it is correctly listed on one of the earlier reports. I really hope he comes home to you soon. G~


Blogger Christina said...

Gretchen, I saw those posts you mention on the forums this weekend and I wondered if that was _the_ family unknowingly responding to you.
That took a lot of courage for you to contact her, but I think it was the right thing to do - it clears the air for both of you, and probably also helps give you some closure. Now when your referral comes you will be good and ready for it!

Monday, March 27, 2006 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger Robinson 4 said...

I also think that it was a great thing for you to do in contacting her.
I've been totally head over heels for a kiddo on the Holt waiting child listing for sometime but after several phone calls was told that I was not old enough. (Despite the fact that I've been married 5 years, we've owned our house for 3, I'm a college grad...) there was just no changing their minds or getting them to make a waiver of the rules (which I was told WAS possible, no matter what they said to me me.) I also grieved to know that this kiddo touched me in some unknown way. There's now a change to his listing that indicates him as "no longer accepting applications". I found a little comfort in knowing that he's going to a family that will hopefully love and care for him, even if we weren't given a fair chance. It's not the same as your situation but I do know where you're coming from!

Monday, March 27, 2006 6:41:00 PM  
Blogger LawMommy said...

Are you talking about B06-4 on the Southeast Asia page? We thought about him too, but, we were so upset/devastated/disraught about not being matched to the other child, I just couldn't bear to go through the waiting child process again. I was happy to see that they have a homestudy ready family who wants him (that is my understanding of what that means when they put that "not accepting any new apps" across their face, is that a family who has a Holt approved homestudy has asked for the child.)

I don't know why they use that arbitrary age cutoff...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger Robinson 4 said...

That's the one. We've been trying to get them to waive the age thing since the beginning of January. The last conversation I had with them was the first week of March and they said that they had several families interested in him already and that a date had be set for his committee. I was more than a little angry since we'd wanted to be one of them for the last several months.
When your little one comes, you'll know that last baby was your catalyst for finding the newest love of your life!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 12:20:00 PM  
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